Cookbook Review: Gluten-Free Baking Classics

Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts was the first gluten-free cookbook I purchased.  I use it as a jumping off point for many of my recipes.  It’s not the only gluten-free cookbook you will ever need, but it is a great starter.

Pros:

  • Overall, this book is easy to read, the recipes are clear and concise.
  • The recipes are well-researched and tested.
  • Roberts provides some rational for her ratios, which may allow you to make substitutions, as you get more familiar with g/f baking.
  • The recipes produce excellent baked goods: flavorful, moist and pretty light.
  • Roberts keeps the variety of flour mixes to a minimum.
  • Covers a solid range of classics from “rye” and challah bread to Oreo-style sandwich cookies.

Cons:

  • Some classics you would like to see are not covered.  No zucchini bread?  Gasp.
  • I was also miffed by the lack of advice on fruit pies. Roberts says to use different ratios of cornstarch for different fruits, but doesn’t provide clear guidance (i.e. – 2 Tbsp for berries and 3 for peaches.  Roberts simply notes that the amount of starch will vary depending on the fruit).  So now I use Joy of Cooking for the fillings and G/F Classics for the crust.
  • There is guidance on characteristics and brands, which is helpful, but some of it guides you to more expensive brands which don’t necessarily yield a better product.
  • Most of the recipes require you to combine oil and milk, mix them and then discard some, which requires an extra step and dirtying up a few extra utensils.  I am sure she tested this a million times, but given the other books on the subject, I am not sure there wasn’t an easier way to accomplish the same result.

There are only one or two naturally gluten-free recipes (i.e. – macaroons).   It’s not the kind of book that shows you ways to make things naturally gluten-free, but it does provide excellent guidance on replicating gluten-y baked goods.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a solid guide to gluten-free baking.

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